A lot goes into creating a company, but a lot more goes into creating a great company that stands the test of time.
"Truly great companies are the ones that make a positive impact to the communities in which they operate," says Thomas Pippos, chief executive of professional services firm Deloitte.
"They change the frame, and help define the future of our societies often before we even know what's possible. They can only do this by being resilient – they bend without breaking, adjusting to our changing needs, holding on to what works and letting go of what doesn't."
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Commenting on the 2019 Company of the Year finalists for Deloitte's top 200 awards, Pippos says there are a lot of good companies that perform well.
"But truly great or iconic companies don't just create wealth but also opportunity for all of their stakeholders, including the planet. They create products and services that advance and create cohesion in our societies, and they reflect the communities in which they operate."
These are some of the things judges of the awards were looking for when they selected their finalists: Meridian Energy, Mainfreight and Delegat Group.
And if we accept that great companies focus on purpose, values and culture – alongside profit – then it's the company leadership that makes the difference, Pippos says.
"Many companies are in danger of talking about culture and purpose, but not truly attempting to embed it. It is down to the CEO (with support from the board) to drive a successful company's vision and action. And only if companies actually achieve success in these areas, particularly as compared to their peers that operate within the same constraints and context, will they be viewed as good or great."
Marcus Pearson, country head for Marsh New Zealand, agrees.
"A great company leads with purpose, and reassesses the notion that the primary purpose is to deliver profits for its shareholders," Pearson says.
"This new approach is changing corporate culture; it's now focused on employees, clients, community and social responsibility. When a company has that right, stakeholders will also be happy."
The Deloitte Top 200 Awards were established in 1990 and are held annually to recognise and applaud outstanding individual and management team performances among New Zealand's largest companies and trading organisations.
Last year's Company of the Year was Zespri.
All winners will be revealed at a gala event being held at Auckland's Spark Arena on December 5.
Tickets can be bought here.
The evening will also include two special awards – "Visionary Leader" and "Executive of the Decade" announced on the night. Click here for a full list of finalists.
Company of the Year finalists – Sponsored by Deloitte and Marsh
• Meridian Energy
• Delegat Group